Joint Venture: Bill Plenefisch's Joint Replacement Surgeries at St. Anthony Hospital

Bill Plenefisch of Gig Harbor spent decades in active, physically demanding military and postal service jobs. Along the way, he learned to tolerate aching joints. “I developed a high tolerance for pain,” said Bill, 62.

When Bill met orthopedic surgeon Matthew Beck, MD of Franciscan Orthopedic Associates at St. Anthony, part of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, he was interested in cortisol shots for his troublesome knees. As a Center of Excellence in Joint Replacement (SRC 2021), St. Anthony Hospital was Bill’s top choice for orthopedic care, he said. “St. Anthony has a different feel than most hospitals. If I have to go to a hospital, that’s where I go. They do a phenomenal job.”

Bill Plenefisch

Dr. Beck, recently named a Surgeon of Excellence by SRC, was recommended to Bill by another local physician. He treated Bill’s knees, but also wanted to help Bill find a more permanent solution for his chronic joint dysfunction and pain. Diagnostic scans revealed that Bill’s left hip joint could no longer function properly in its “bone on bone” state. With Dr. Beck’s help, Bill began to recognize how his hip problems affected his quality of life.

“I had a close call when I was crossing the street and car came into the intersection,” Bill recalled. “I barely got out of the way in time because I just couldn’t move fast enough, with my bad hip. That’s when I realized how much it was affecting my ability to walk.”

Dr. Beck performed a total hip replacement in November of 2019, dramatically improving Bill’s mobility and decreasing his pain. In 2020, Dr. Beck addressed Bill’s painful shoulder joints. During two separate surgeries, Dr. Beck replaced Bill’s right and left shoulder joints with prosthetic implants to improve his range of motion and relieve his chronic pain.

“Dr. Beck went above and beyond what he needed to do. During surgery, he found a bone spur and removed it so I wouldn’t have anything causing me discomfort. He took the time to make sure everything was just right,” said Bill. “I trust Dr. Beck’s knowledge and his ability. There is no other surgeon I’d trust to do three surgeries. The fact that I went back to him after having my hip done shows is the best testimonial I can give.”